Earlier this week I realised I had a rare weekend off work, with three available days free from child care commitments. Initially, following last weeks trip to Cork, I thought this would be a great opportunity to visit Dover for the first time since September 2008. As the week progressed it became apparent that logistically Dover was going to be a no go. However as one door closes another opens.
I had been in touch with Dan Martin via twitter and he kindly invited me to The River Nene OSS swim near Peterborough, the distance from home was only going to be 170 miles so it was relatively close in comparison to Dover.
Friday afternoon once KGB had finished work we departed south, after some traffic frustration on the A19 we made good progress and arrived shortly after 7:30pm at the Castle Farm Guest House in the village of Fotheringhay . A very peaceful, picturesque location with great history. After unpacking we were collected by Dan who drove us to a nearby pub for introductions to his parents, who were very welcoming to say the least, a lovely couple who seem to run around after the big man all day long! After a good feed and a couple of pints of Guinness we were tucked up and asleep for midnight.
The plan for Saturday was to start the swim at Cotterstock for 11am, swim the 5km stretch to Fotheringhay, refuel by way of a picnic, re warm, then swim another 5km to Elton Lock. As it turned out, due to a couple of late arrivals, the laid back approach to these social swims, and some transport shuttle runs by KGB, the start didn't actually take place til just before twelve noon.
About a dozen swimmers (half in speedos half in wetsuits) entered the water, it was a little green and murky but flat as a pancake, quite surreal after swimming in the sea on Thursday, it was more like being in a pool. I was last to get into the River as I had waited for KGB to return to the start in order to collect some kit left at the waters edge.